Police arrest suspected arsonist of 14 school buses

Riyadh police solved the mystery of the arson fire of 14 school buses in two separate locations of the capital city on Feb. 16 by arresting a Saudi yesterday.Images of the burning buses were circulated on different social media sites across the country.

The Saudi, 37, who is suspected of setting the fires, was spotted by the security patrolling teams inside his car. He tried to run away, but was overpowered by the police and taken into custody.

“some 14 school buses, owned and run by a private company to transport female students in Riyadh, were set on fire allegedly by this man,” said Col. Nasir Al- Qahtani, a spokesman of the Riyadh police said here yesterday.

The man set ablaze eight buses in Al- Mathaar District and six buses in Janadriyah District of Riyadh. Al- Qahtani said, “The Riyadh police acted swiftly on the two seperate pieces of information relayed by Mathaar and Nazeem police stations refarding the fire incidents.”

Witnesses who uploded the image of burning buses said that man was behind the wheel of a car and was trying to set a roll of paper towels on fire.

“All of sudden, I saw a man in bus, and he’s like tearing up something and he was holding it up in the car,” said a post on a social site. A number of photographs of flames emanating from the buses were uploaded on social sites.

Al Qahtani said: “One of the security patrols detected a suspicious car, a 2010 Camry, parked at a school bus parking area in Salam District, east of Riyadh. The driver of the car tried to flee as soon as he saw the policemen, but the police managed to stop him.”

The police, he said, found with him more then six bottles of water filled with benzene ready for use and two lighters. The suspect told the investigators that he intentionally burned the buses.

Police, after raiding his house, found out that the suspect had been living alone in the house. They also found five water cans filled with benzene, three laptops, four desktop computers, a scaner, a fax machine, and maps of Riyadh districts. All his belongings including the car have been seized by security agencies for further investigation.

“His mental status and his behavior are also being examined,” added Al- Qahtani.

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